Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders with Scott Allen

Dr. Susan Madsen - The Scholarly Practitioner

June 24, 2022 Scott J. Allen Season 1 Episode 129
Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders with Scott Allen
Dr. Susan Madsen - The Scholarly Practitioner
Show Notes Transcript

Professor Susan R. Madsen, Ph.D., is the Karen Haight Huntsman Endowed Professor of Leadership in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. She is also a Visiting Fellow of the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Zagreb (Croatia) and a former Fellow of The Leadership Trust Foundation in Ross-on-Wye, England. Dr. Madsen is considered one of the top global thought leaders on the topic of women and leadership, has authored or edited eight books, and has published hundreds of articles, chapters, and reports. Her research has been featured in the U.S. News and World Report, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Parenting Magazine, Chronicle of Higher Education, The Washington Post, and she is a regular contributor to Forbes. She is a well-known speaker in local, national, and international settings. Susan has founded many women’s networks, and she serves on a host of nonprofit, community, and association boards and committees. Madsen has received numerous awards for her teaching, research, and service.

Connecting with Dr. Madsen

Publications/Ted Talks by Dr. Madsen


Quotes From This Episode

  • "I have CEOs all the time that say to me, 'okay, I'm hiring women, but they're not staying.' And I'm like, 'describe your culture.'"
  • "The research is so clear that when you have a mix of great men and great women working together in leadership teams...better things are going to happen - more innovation, and more creativity...If we really care about doing better for this world, for our kids and grandkids, we have to move forward with greater diversity, inclusion, and belonging."
  • "I've always said the difference between a guru and a scholar is that the gurus have all the answers and scholars have all the questions. I have way more questions."
  • "When you can get into that wonderful space where your head, heart, and hands all connect - then it really is powerful."

About The International Leadership Association (ILA)

  • The ILA was created in 1999 to bring together professionals interested in the study, practice, and teaching of leadership. Plan for ILA's 24th Global Conference online on October 6 & 7, 2022, and/or onsite in Washington, D.C., October 13-16, 2022. Register for the 24th Global Conference here!

My Approach to Hosting

  • The views of my guests do not constitute "truth." Nor do they reflect my personal views in some instances. However, they are important views to be aware of. Nothing can replace your own research and exploration.

Connect with Scott Allen

Note: Voice-to-text transcriptions are about 90% accurate and conversations-to-text do not always translate perfectly. I include it to provide you with the spirit of the conversation.

Scott Allen  0:03  
Okay everybody, welcome to the Phronesis podcast. Thank you for checking in wherever you are in the world. Today. I have a new friend and she's in a state I love. Professor Susan R. Madsen is the Karen hate Huntsman Endowed Professor of leadership in the Jon M Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. Dr. Madsen is considered one of the top global thought leaders on the topic of women and leadership has authored or edited eight books and has published hundreds of articles chapters and reports. Her research has been featured in the US News and World Report, the Atlantic, the New York Times, parenting magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Washington Post, and she is a regular contributor to Forbes. She's a well-known speaker in local, national, and international settings. Susan has founded many women's networks, and she serves on a host of the nonprofit community and association boards at really all levels, whether that's the state level or the local level, Dr. Madsen received numerous awards for her teaching, research, and service. And Susan, we are both Golden Gophers. Oh, yes, I love that.

Susan Madsen  1:10  
I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, and I was in the family social science. So that was my undergraduate degree and the College of Human Ecology. And so we have that in common. We're both Golden Gophers, and you love Utah. So

Scott Allen  1:27  
I love Utah, and you were mentioning the police before we got on. Yeah, I've been I have an image of the police in Idaho, up near Moscow. I love that part of the country. It is so wonderful to meet you. Thank you so much for spending some time with us today on the podcast where I'd like to begin, you've done so much work with women in leadership. What I would love to start with is just what are some of your contemporary thoughts on that topic? Having now started a number of programs been engaged in this work at multiple levels in international organizations and at the level of the community? What are you seeing? What are some themes kind of popping up for you on this topic?

Susan Madsen  2:12  
That's a great question. So I've been in this particular topic of women's leadership, and, and things related to women's leadership, I should say for about two decades now. I've done a lot with human resource development and leadership development more generally. But I really have to say I feel absolutely called to do the work I do. And very driven to do that both in the state of Utah. And we could talk more about that. But also nationally, I've run things for agencies of the federal government, but also next week, or next month, I'll be in the UK speaking and Slovenia, and Croatia. So I really, really love that. So though I've been doing research for years and do a lot again in the state of Utah. And what's interesting is early on in this work, I really wanted to just focus on developing leadership for women themselves. And I love that's I love coming from an HR D background. I love career development, training and development, leadership development, and the whole development of people themselves, right? Yep, I love that. And so I did that. And I wrote some books early on and different things. But what's been really interesting is, if you really want to lead social changes, what my focus really is, you can't just talk about women's internal aspirate. I love that piece, though the internal aspirations and their motivations and personal barriers and those kinds of things. You have to get into society, you have to look at the external, you have to look at discrimination at bias, conscious and unconscious bias, and you have to look at systems and processes. And so I've been dragged into that area, which which I'm in...

Scott Allen  4:07  
This is getting multi-level very quickly.

Susan Madsen  4:09  
Well, when you're looking at change, I love change at all levels. But many people who may be listening know, because I've been talking about this for years, that I really have been working with the state of Utah, and my work here has gotten bigger and bigger. And I am in conversations. And it and it's kind of...I'll just say this. So I call my work in Utah, the women, Utah women, and leadership projects. But I get into topics like women in STEM, like voting, like women in politics, like sexual assault, domestic violence, all of those like poverty. And sometimes people will say, What are you doing talking about sexual assault or poverty? That's not leadership. Ah, so I push back and say When a woman has been assaulted, or when she's living in poverty, can she use her voice? Really? I mean, can she? Does she have confidence? There's this whole spectrum of what it takes to be a leader. Yeah. And if you don't, you know, you could put Maslow's hierarchy up there, right? That's safety. If you're not dealing with safety, if you're not dealing with how to raise aspirations and girls, like at that level, how are we going to change women in the workplace, getting women to top leaders, leadership women in, in the US Senate, all of those areas? So I go, pretty broad Scott, as you can see, if you just try and stay in your silo of what you love to research just one piece, you're missing the system's view of so many things that impact girls and women and, and anything that impacts women impacts families and impacts society. So it's not just a quote, I put it in quotes. It's not just women's issues. Okay. Women's Issues, again, impact everyone. Yes.

Scott Allen  6:12  
As you think about even some of the conversations that you're in at the state level, what are some things that come to mind for you as top priorities again, if we kind of go to that, that framing of Maslow, what are you seeing as top priorities to establish that base? So then we can build from there? What do you see?

Susan Madsen  6:35  
Oh, so many thoughts on this, one of the things I'm working on strategically, right, right now and published a piece and our main paper for the state yesterday, on some of these issues, really is helping organizations helping companies helping our state government understand what flexible and family-friendly policies and programs and initiatives, let's shake things up? What are things that have been linked to research, everything I do is linked to research that has shown to increase and improve retention? Well, I should start with recruitment. Right. Yeah. Right. And retention, you know, development, all of those things. So for the station, yeah, it really is. And honestly, we have a place in Utah called Silicon slopes is I mean, we have Google, we have everybody here. I you. It's kind of like, you know, Silicon Valley, but it's in Utah. And it's, and we have a talent shortage. We have so many openings right now. So it's crazy to be in Utah, we have one of the best economies. So we're starting to finally talk about talent shortage and how to do this. And so I have CEOs all the time that say to me, okay, I'm hiring women, but they're not staying. Like what? And I'm like, describe your culture. Yeah, scribe. They're like, we want to develop them and have them become leaders. Right? Develop, tell me about your compensation. Tell me and what I say to them is this. You have a masculine culture. And they'll say, what does that mean? And I'll say it's visible to you. It's invisible, masculine, but women who leave after a year, they can't put their finger on it, that they're like, I don't belong, I might be included. There might be a little diversity, but I don't belong. And so, you know, these are a few of the topics that when we're working with the business community, we have events that we run from our project that we get 1000 people on Zoom for women themselves. So we do I've had some great speakers but we like like I had one on this the Gender Research around salary negotiation, I had a couple of people out of Harvard and some of the tops in the world join us on the latest research on salary negotiation for Wow, so so so those are a few topics, you know, from women themselves, finding purpose and calling or identity to see themselves as leaders, unconscious bias and how to navigate all of that to be successful. I'm on one right now, we've got to get more women to run for public office and to be elected. Women in public office change a lot of things for the state. So I'm all over the place, Scott all over the place.

Scott Allen  9:38  
You're doing a lot, and I absolutely love it. I absolutely love it. I'm trying to decide where I want to jump in. I mean, I think can we stay for a little bit on this topic of corporate life? What do leaders need to have on their radar when it comes to ensuring again, you might have silicon slopes and you might I'd have Adobe. And it's a wonderful organization and incredible output. But is it an environment? Again, from the very beginning, from when I'm recruited to when I'm onboarded, developed, and retained succession planning? I mean, there are shifts in literally almost every part of organizational culture in that system that have to change, right?

Susan Madsen  10:26  
Yeah, the biggest thing, Scott, when you look at all the research, and there's a lot of research around this area, is if you do not have women in top leadership, and one is a starch, but again, the research for years has said 30% of a corporate board or 30% of top leaders need to be, and that's minimum right need to be there for a change. It impacts not every single woman, you know, it's the same or men, not every single business is a mess, you know, but that is one of the biggest things because when we know that things change once women are at the table. So if we look at changing culture, if we work, that's got to be on the top of the priority list. And people have this out there, like whether or not we can't get them to apply, or we can't, you know, there's, there are people out there, you need to recruit differently, you need to be looking around, you need to put some effort into that. But when a woman is there, her voice is heard more, and it tends to be and sometimes, there are still some women that don't support other women. But more, more now, now these days that they will look around and things will start changing because of that. So that's one. Yeah. And then really, you know, I would say, the second would be, you know, so many places, I could go with this. But the second I would say is to start really doing evaluation. So see where you're at with the gender wage gap. Yeah, see where you're at, with the percentage of women in different in mid-level management and different things when you measure things. You know, and, and I'm always saying these days measure race to race and ethnicity. That's important too, because just kidding white women in there, and I'm a white woman is great in many ways. But the, you know, you you need diversity, and always so so and women of color, face other challenges that I don't face, right as a white woman. So that's important, too. So that would be the second thing is once you start measuring, the better, there's a I don't know if you know them, but they're quite the parody pledge. They're the ones that kind of started that. But they have a tool, they're a nonprofit. And they have a tool that I think is just awesome that companies can get into where it really measures almost everything is great when you link it to the HR system, also used more and more companies are starting ERGs women ERGs employee resource groups, what we have to be careful with those Scott is I have this wonderful model in my last scholarly book that has four boxes, you know, one of those great models. And then on one side, there's action. And on the other side is awareness. And so are you in this bottom quadrant that has not a lot of awareness? And no action? A lot of companies are there? Or are you in a place where there's a lot of action, but no awareness? That's what I was gonna say we have to be careful. Like, check the box. Yes. Like we're doing sexual harassment training, we're doing this and this we're doing that does not move the needle very much, or are we a lot of awareness, you know, no action? Or are we really in that space of High/High? And that's different. And especially for leadership development and moving women in these spots and are opening the door in the culture to have women even move into the spots right into those spots. It's that's important. So there are so many things with companies just getting people to understand the culture and the invisible nature of the masculine culture. Yep. Yeah, but most organizations are masculine in the way they've just been around and that they've been built by men. But when I design women's leadership programs, as I've done in the past I don't have time anymore. Done mixed gender. I designed the pedagogy is different with women, things are different. The categories I focus on are different than if men were in the room.

Scott Allen  14:56  
Say more about that. So the literally the instructional strategies You choose to you? Absolutely. So there might be, is it? Like, what would come to mind for me is greater levels of dialogue and reflection? would those be

Susan Madsen  15:09  
Absolutely. And women, you want to leave space for more identity work. And that takes more reflection. And that takes some vulnerability. And women will not do that. Most of the time with men in the room, you get women together, and they're able to just dig deeper. And so you leave space for that you leave space for conversations about that. And I spent more time with men, I do not. But with women, there's some great research of a decade ago, that came out of Harvard, that really focused on the foundation of a leadership program for women and at the foundation, you know, a lot of programs, a lot of conferences for women, you go and you go to a session on networking, and you go to a session on negotiation, and you go, and, and the research is saying just doing that doesn't move the needle as much. But if you have three things that the foundation that you always work with, then those other things will start sticking. And those really are number one, helping women men naturally have a leadership identity that's stronger than women. And so working on identity work, so women can see themselves not just see themselves, but there's a model that I use, I won't get into that too much. But identity has one purpose and calling is to, and women need purpose and calling num 30% more than men for meaningful work. My husband says all the time, like do you have to have meaning and every single thing you do, like let's and then third is is really, women need to really understand unconscious bias for themselves, but also to navigate. Because no matter what we do there, there is sexism, it is strong. There is discrimination, it is there. And the older I get, the more that I go through this. Oh my gosh, Scott, the more I see, really, I did not see all of this even 510 years ago. Wow. I see subtleties that are so and I've we've done so much research on these things that are there. And what I love is when women and male allies say, I want to understand I want to go deeper. And it's amazing what you can do how you can move the needle when you go to that, that depth?

Scott Allen  17:44  
Well, I'm interested in, in understanding some of what you are seeing, okay, we're working at the state level where I imagine there's there's policy, there's just even you being in the media being interviewed? And what are you experiencing some of those pushbacks that maybe you may not have seen 10 years ago, but what are you noticing, as you do the work? Is it even as you promote some of the ideals you've just shared? I'm sure someone on Twitter is being horrible.

Susan Madsen  18:20  
Well, you know, well, I would say, first of all, I don't I'm very out there. I do a lot of media, I do a lot of radio, TV, I do a lot of news. I publish I Yesterday, a big piece came out that I published in and the newspapers, I work closely with them. I don't read the other comment, I don't read any other comments in the newspaper, because they're just junk. They're really not by not a good thing, because most of the time. And so I know that I don't have the energy to do that. But what's been amazing to me is how receptive and I think I've created that place of respect, which is really important as a leading scholar to do where people will listen more. And in a state where there are really quite traditional values and so forth. I've seen some movement that's really exciting. So I'm a professor, right, yeah. But I'm also asked by Governor Cox, who has been in for a little over a year now to co-lead for the state of Utah with his senior adviser of equity and opportunity, a whole effort and initiative around equity and opportunity for the state of Utah. So I'm in conversations with the governor's cabinet, with the advisors, with agency leaders with CEOs trying to everybody moved the needle and I'll tell you I'm seeing this year, more men that want to get it wanna step forward that want to be male allies that are open to it that are practicing that language. It's so awkward sometimes with men who, you know, they're tiptoeing around, and then you get women of color, you know, you have race and, and it's so awkward. And so there are some men that I have really been not done necessarily working with, but, but they're, you know, in conversations that just have, have relaxed and are just trying to learn and grow and, and I love it. I love it. So you

Scott Allen  20:32  
asked about the image, I have an image, Susan, I have an image of in our neighborhood, my wife and I walk every morning, and this morning, we saw a baby deer literally probably less than a day old if that. And it's wobbling around and I at times I can feel in conversation like that baby deer wobbling around like a little bit unsure of how to navigate some of those conversations because I want to learn and I am curious, but I also don't want to offend. And I'm careful. And it just feels wildly right.

Susan Madsen  21:09  
And it is exhausting in some ways. Yes. What I'm finding in my work with on race, which I've just hit, I feel like a baby in that conversation, but I'm working is that that's how many of my sisters of color feel all the time. And so, you know, because I kind of is wobbly in that space as well. And I told them I said I'm just so uncomfortable and they'd like "Madsen get over it, just go." If you goof we'll tell you if just stop tiptoeing around the edges, just get in and be open to learning and change. So it's not perfect here. But what I'm seeing is some movement. One of the interesting interventions, I'll call it I'm putting quote marks here is I had one of our top leaders, who is the CEO of one of our biggest banks and well-known banks to the state of Utah called Zions Bank. Um, he commissioned me and my team to look at the worst and best states for women's equality. And Utah every year is the worst date. And so he, he, it has three categories, 17 indicators, he said, I want you to go in-depth with this instrument and tell us what as a state we need to do. And so we did that we analyzed went back to the original data of all of their indicators pulled and we'll have a dashboard out soon, that's going to pull it did a report a white paper that had very specific recommendations on how we can move the needle and get off at least from being endorsed state, hopefully, like up to three or four. But that's been a really interesting conversation. Like the wage gap is on there, women, the poverty, how many women in the state earn over $100,000. But then we've given very specific recommendations on what to do. So that is these are all things that impact when it's leadership and even the presence of that. So, so it's been really interesting to be involved in this work. And I'm a researcher, you know, that's what I love. And I love being a change agent. But I do not do any research anymore. And we'll never, that is not directly applicable to true change. And so everything I do I see this is going to impact in this way. It's going to raise awareness, it's going to give tools, it's going to get to this audience it is, you know, represent to be and I do scholarly articles for journals, of course, but...

Scott Allen  24:00  
they're irrelevant!

Susan Madsen  24:03  
I'm gonna say something that was that may. They don't get to too many people. Those are not that important. If for social change, so I do those yet my series of briefs so white papers and stuff get right to the people, and they are read by 1000s of 1000s of people. So I do a mix. You can't just do scholarly journals. If you as a scholar, and a scholarly practitioner, I should say both want to actually use our research and knowledge to change things.

Scott Allen  24:38  
So true, 

Susan Madsen  24:38  
I'm shaking it up. I've just shaken it up.

Scott Allen  24:41  
No, no, I love it. And so you're seeing this, you're seeing an increased level of receptivity. Among individuals...

Susan Madsen  24:48  
There's still so much work to do. Yeah, more people are in the conversation. The conversation is not going to go away. And our Governor and Lieutenant Governor, we got a winner. For a friend of mine, who's a woman, and she is the lieutenant governor. So that's great. only been one other sense in the history of Utah, but they are committed to this issue. And they are saying, No, we need to move the needle, tell us what to do. So I actually spent a couple of hours with the governor's cabinet a few months ago, and all the advisors have gone through that report. And they're like, What can we do? So we released policy reports to legislators. So I just was at a meeting this morning and talked to three or four legislators, and they're like, What do you need us to do next session. I'm like, 'Hey, we need this and this and this, and this childcare, childcare, sexual assault issues, you know, leave policies..." But we don't just say that we actually have the report that gets sent too specific. So I know this is probably a weird interview for your Scott because it's very practical stuff.

Scott Allen  25:57  
No, it's not. It's not weird at all. I absolutely love it. Because I think you're at this really, really cool Nexus that you said the word scholarly/practitioner, and the individual who is using evidence-based knowledge to inform how we move the needle. And I think you've also highlighted just that wonderful kind of perspective, that look, this is multi-level, this is not only individual, so an individual's identity, some of their base level needs. But then this is societal. This is, yeah, it's multi-level, and you're working at multiple levels, which I think is fascinating. I really do. So I

Susan Madsen  26:42  
mentioned something that it and again, I'm a leading social change. So we do research different kinds of reports. And that's the core. And we do podcasts about research. And we do infographics. And we're developing a curriculum, we have a whole course that we just released on conflict management for women. So it's an online curriculum. And we're going to release one on impostor syndrome for women soon. So we do resources based on research and then do events and speaking and speaking at there's a real Vantage for us, as scholars, or scholars, practitioners, to really work on how we translate research into the regular words. So we can present research to Girl Scouts, who are eight and nine, and 10. Yes, we still have a way I do that with identity, that's really fun. So we can present to, you know, a rotary club, who might be really like 80, or we can present to CEOs, or we can present to, you know, or in our writing as I write from a full scholarly to editorials in the paper. And they are written very differently. Reports in the middle. Yeah. So I think that's a skill for anyone listening to this podcast. You know, I used to have students say, I just don't write like that. And I'm like, you just don't know. But you do. You can

Scott Allen  28:22  
depends on your audience. And then are you good enough to be ambidextrous, and, you know, tailor the writing for that audience?

Susan Madsen  28:29  
So writing and speaking, if we really want our research to make a difference, you know, some people aren't interested at all and all of those levels, but I just push out there. I mean, you do a great scholarly study, find a way to be able to have your university put a press release out there, and how can you in 30 seconds, give a punch line for media? Because Gone are the days that, that you just research and put it on a show, we don't have the luxury to do that anymore. If we really care about people and society, right?

Scott Allen  29:05  
Well, that's a really interesting perspective, because you're almost not I put an article on LinkedIn the other day that I had written, and it's titled on the cutting edge of the chopping block. And it was really for management educators and it was focused on looking at college as a business. Are we really developing some level of tech literacy among our students? Do they have an eye on what's coming down the pike? Do they have an eye on the future of work? In college as a business, we do a great job of talking about the past, Frederick Taylor, and the Enron scandal, we got that locked in. We do. You know, current, pretty good case studies and things that were probably at this point written a couple of years ago, but looking to the future, we don't do enough of that. And so I posted it on LinkedIn, but there's even a little bit of an "oh gosh, should I do this?" Should I promote is this is this some Army for doing that. But you're exactly right. If we want our work to impact our communities, however, we want to define the level there. You know, I think that's part of it.

Susan Madsen  30:14  
And so I'm going to push it to push a little bit. I would argue that more and more, I mean, we have an ethical responsibility to do that. So I work at a public institution. It's taxpayers' money, right. Yeah, it is. I mean, it's people, you know, students, but some federal, it's all over. You know, I do think through the years, that ivory tower, that research for the sake of just knowledge is out there. And I tried to respect that, but I'm like, you know, we need all these good minds working on what my dear friends in the UK have called for years wicked problems. I love that term. Yes. Do we not have the most wicked challenging problems today that we have ever seen throughout time, the pandemic war? I mean, how many things need the best minds to not just sit on this shelf? But get involved in complex problems? And oh, my gosh, just the topic of leadership do we need? Like, do we have leadership even at the head of countries? And what does that look like? Oh, my

Scott Allen  31:30  
gosh, because the complexity that those individuals are facing is just it's yes, wicked problem. VUCA, ill structured, ill-defined problems, chaotic at times. I mean, but I think

Unknown Speaker  31:47  
that ethical back to that ethical real quick, though, but to really use the funding that has been given to us to to be in these positions to impact students. That's, that's one of the top priorities, but to use our research for the public and the common good. I just feel like that's so important moving forward.

Scott Allen  32:08  
Let's talk about that for a moment as we begin to wind down, how did you make that transition? Has that always been in you just to want your research to be more relevant, the focus to be actionable, but because you're working in a very unique way, for an academic, I mean, most academics that I know, are not meeting with the governor, and their work is influencing policy. That's not the norm, so to speak. And I think it's awesome. How have you navigated that space? How have you moved from getting full professor to this work? Has it just been a natural progression? Was it always a goal? Did it just kind of present some of these opportunities present themselves, and then you found your energy there, because as you said, before, we started you working long hours, but you have this passion for the work, right?

Susan Madsen  33:07  
I do. Part of that is my calling. Yeah, I've done research on women's leadership and calling and calling can be from God. And for me, I'm religious and spiritual for me, there's a connection to God speaking to me to do this, where, however, I just need to say, there's research also on people that are not religious, and they still felt called that they're made to do certain things. That's, that's powerful. And when you tune in or open up, or whatever, tap in or whatever we want to call it to that you're here on earth to do this kind of work to really help people. That's really powerful. But back to your, that's a big part of what continues to drive me. But I've always been interested in change. And part of my doctoral work was around there in terms of social change. And then I, you know, got into leadership. And I've always been a public speaker. So I've done that. And so my name was kind of out there and the Commissioner of Higher Education for the state of Utah, in 2009, reached out to me and asked me to go to breakfast and brought the Associate Commissioner, and he had been my president before, so I, he, I knew him. And he said, this was 13 years ago, and this was supposed to be a one-year project. He said, You know, we're, we have less women going to college and graduating than the rest of the nation, and I really want you to do some research. And then he said, You care about girls and women. And I had just published some books on the lifetime of women, the lifetime development of women governors and women college presidents, and how did they find their voice? How did they develop leadership? So I had just done that and So I said, Okay, you know, I'll do some extensive research all around the state focus groups at different places to collect data. And I did that. And I said, Hey, do you want data? Or do you want me to kind of get some change moving? Because I have always loved that. Yeah. And he's like, whatever you can do, Susan. So I started Yeah, you know, I've always been a fan of John Carter's leading change book, which is a standard book on and I've used that through the years and, and I do a lot of that first step, which is creating urgency, right? The data can do that. So I started collecting and doing reports, but it started the movement. And then I was going to move out. And then people said, Hey, you're a data person. Can you do women in politics? Can you do this from that? And so, I've continued, I tried to give this up a couple of times. And then people have just said, no, no, no, no, no, you can't do so. And then even with God, I have, like, I feel like I need to move in a different direction. It's like, you gotta keep putting this up. So I tried to multitask. But that's how I started and then you just open up into being in a place that's uncomfortable a lot of the time. But if you know how to lead if you know how to do and I, my background is organization development and change. You're okay, stepping out into this place where you don't have the answers. Yeah. And so I've always said the difference between a guru and a scholar is that the gurus have all the answers and scholars have all the questions. Wow. And so I have way more questions. I have answers. Yeah. So and when you have more questions and are comfortable with the questions, then you can move out and be okay, in that zone of I don't have all the answers, but I know I have confidence enough in myself. And that I can ask the right people to get in the room. I know I have the ability to get the right steps at that step forward to do the next thing to know what the next study is that'll impact and when you goof, which, you know, you're not when you fail, well, you know, what really is a failure, you're willing to take a step back and say, You know what, that didn't work? I'm good, right? Now, I'm gonna stop that study, or whatever it is, and I'm gonna go in this other direction.

Scott Allen  37:36  
And but what I love about what you're saying is, yes, you might not have all the answers, but there's that jet fuel for the topic, that we can move the needle, that this is something we can help improve the condition of, we're going to run these experiments, we're going to see what we can do to try and move the needle. And I love how you framed that because existing in that space kind of on those margins, failure is going to be a more likely failure is going to occur. But if you are tapped into that sincere passion for that calling I think there's a reserve there, there's an energy there that I just have so much respect. I really do

Susan Madsen  38:21  
not thank you. I just feel I feel like I'm in the right space doing the right thing I'm getting older. You just feel like you know all of these things sometimes come together your head and heart enhanced, right? Yes, your head all of the knowledge that you have. And sometimes we just get excited to get up in the morning what's in our minds the things that we feel, and then that heart of can I really for me I really want to do what's what will help lift people and then the hands what do I love to do? And I do not love just sitting writing and doing research, although I do a ton of that. But I like to see people I like to get out and speak I like to be sometimes I don't like I have to say I don't like all the media sometimes and stuff. It's kind of a pain. But when you put yourself out there and know that your voice can change things. And I would say any, any voice could change things, then you feel that kind of weight. One of my strengths finders is responsibility. That's terrible. It's a heavy weight on the shoulders sometimes. So I love I do talk about the head, heart, and hands a lot. And when you can get in that wonderful space where your head and your heart and your hands all connect, then it really is powerful.

Scott Allen  39:42  
And you know, again, kind of going back to Maslow if some of my base needs aren't met, that's going to be it's going to be a hard place to get to. And then even when those base level needs are met, am I tapping into all three of those? And are they working synergistically to really because I think I feel that I feel the three that you just said, I feel that in my work, and it's a beautiful feeling, because like you, I get up in the morning, and I'm excited. And I feel so thankful that I have felt that in that I do that, I do feel that in my work. But for those folks who don't, I mean, you can see why depression exists, anxiety exists, because I think on some level, is that those things haven't aligned for them in their lives.

Susan Madsen  40:37  
Well, that meaningful work, you probably know, the research that and even if you're not working can work with your kids at home. But it has if you have meaning. It is so linked to better job satisfaction, higher mental health, and better physical health that you know, it's crazy. So the research is quite clear on that. But back to just one more statement, I know that we're wrapping up back to the women's leadership piece. I really do. I mean, the research is so clear that when you have the mix of great men and great women working together in terms of leadership teams, and leadership roles, better things are gonna happen, more innovation, and more creativity. And I would just say that we can't, if we really care about doing better for this world, for our kids and grandkids, we have to move forward with greater diversity and inclusion and belonging. I'm very committed to that. And I think ILA is a place where many of us can convene, talk about these issues and figure out ways to do things better, even in our positions, whether we're a scholar or practitioners, or the superintendent of a school district. There's, there are answers in the research, there's a lot of questions still, I'm committed to this work, Scott, you could probably feel that

Scott Allen  42:08  
I can. I love how you phrase that to you, I can feel that I can feel okay, to wind down. What are you either going to read this summer, what's on your radar? It could have something to do with what we've just discussed? Or it could have nothing to do with what we've just discussed. But is there anything on your radar that you're looking forward to getting to this summer? Or is there something you've read recently, that really stood out for you, again, could be something totally not related to what we've

Susan Madsen  42:36  
just discussed? Well, mine is usually related, because my stack of articles and books is so high. People keep sending me more. But let me give you this, the Harvard Business Review sent me some books, and they have a series of podcast series called Women at Work. Okay, so I have three books that I need to read, I committed to reaching them this summer, one on you, the leader, one on speak up, speak out, and one on making real conversations from there about women at work. And then my next couple of articles sitting here for me to read are called a model of when to negotiate for women. Okay, developing the positive identity of minoritized women leaders in it relates to overcoming imposter phenomena. And the last one is titled forget the mommy track. Temporal flexibility increases promotional aspirations for women and reduces gender gaps. So there you go, and then another one on motherhood, oh, I need to get a life.

Scott Allen  43:44  
Sounds like you have a pretty awesome life, a meaningful life, right? Yeah. Yeah. Well, Susan, it has been so much fun to meet you. As I said, when we first got on, before we started recording, I can't believe we've never spent, we've been in the same circles, but we've never really met. And so such a pleasure to get to know you a little bit. Thank you for the work that you do. And we'd love to have you back sometime. And we can talk I'd love to talk more about just how do we help people tap into that? Well, how I phrase it sometimes is kind of the people of the place and the purpose or people place passion, what it what is it? What environments help you thrive, what people help you thrive, and what work helps you feel like you can thrive. And I think it's a fascinating topic because I think everyone has those gifts. Everyone on earth has those gifts. And I think for a great faction of people, those aren't aligned for whatever reasons.

Susan Madsen  44:42  
That is so true. That is so true. And for women, one of my number one topics that I talk about now his women are socialized not to know and talk about their gifts and strengths. Wow. We're supposed to be humble. We're not supposed to talk about this. This is socialization and I'll tell you If you don't know your true giftedness and your strengths, it's hard to find purpose. It's hard to find. So that's one of my biggest topics.

Scott Allen  45:11  
We'll get there. Okay, we'll have that conversation. I will be in touch for talk number two. 

Susan Madsen
Okay. Thank you, Scott. 

Scott Allen
Have a great summer. Susan, thank you so much. Thanks. Bye, bye, 

Susan Madsen  46:59  
Bye bye

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